CHICAGO (670 The Score) – Speaking publicly for the first time since trade speculation ramped up Tuesday around Bulls star guard Zach LaVine, coach Billy Donovan made clear that he’ll address all conflict head on.
As of Wednesday evening before the Bulls hosted the Magic, there was no recent conflict between LaVine and Donovan, at least to hear Donovan tell it. LaVine has never indicated to Donovan that he wants to be traded, Donovan said.
That was a topic of conversation after news surfaced Tuesday that both LaVine and the Bulls are more open than ever to a trade that would ship him out of Chicago, according multiple reports. Speaking after shootaround Wednesday morning, LaVine didn’t deny the reports, though he also largely sidestepped questions about a trade possibility. Frustration has permeated the Bulls as they’re off to an ugly 4-7 start.
However it all plays out in the coming weeks and months, Donovan will be ready to directly address any concerns that LaVine or other players have.
“My truth is my truth, right?” Donovan responded when asked about dealing with conflict. “That doesn’t need to mean that my truth is the right way, the only way. Someone could have the same situation and their truth could be totally different. But what you do is you come together and you have a conversation and you deal with it head on. I’ve always been a big believer of that. I think the conflict part, the confrontation part, people think it’s yelling and screaming and it’s not necessarily that. It’s just confronting whatever the issue is. I think you have to lean into that stuff. I’m going to always be honest in terms of how I feel. That’s not to say that my feelings are always right. There are times that players express themselves and you take a step back and say, ‘You know what, that player’s right.’ And I think there’s been times where a player stepped back and said, ‘You know what, he’s right.’ And when you have those conversations, you’re at least moving towards solving things and I’ve just always been a big believer of that.”
Donovan didn’t have a sense that LaVine’s saga has been a distraction among others in the locker room, he said. His hope is everyone can focus on the job at hand, including LaVine, who’s off to a tough start with his scoring average (21.9) and shooting percentage (40.9) well below his marks of recent seasons.
“He’s got a job to do just like I do and the rest of the team does and everybody else,” Donovan said. “You’ve got to put your best foot forward.”
Cody Westerlund is an editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.